Here is a little lovely story found in Universitetsavisa.no, the universities own newspaper. They have previously suggested that NIJ is behind hate mail to climate scientists and anti-Israel academics. This story has previously been reported on Harry’s Place
Jewish identity is the problem
Gilad Atzmon goes straight to the core of what he sees as the problem of the State of Israel: Jewish identity. Atzmon is an internationally renowned jazzmusician, not as well known as a political analyst. On Dragvoll he showed both sides.
Mobile phone: +47 91897876, Publisert: 31.10.2011 kl. 14:17
In the book “The Wandering Who” Gilad Atzmon focuses on “Jewish” as a basis for Israeli politics and Jewish self-perception worldwide. At a visit to NTNU he gave a lecture a vision of his own journey from what he perceived as a privileged citizen of a racist state, to renounce his identity as a Jew.
Atzmon’s parents are Jewish and one of his grand parents was a member of the legendary Irgun.
– I was born in Israel in 1963, many years before it dawned on me that Israel in fact is Occupied Palestine.
This is how Atzmon opens his lecture.
– My grandfather was a famous Jewish terrorist. He was a member of the Irgun.There were many he did not like – Germans, Britons, and, above all, JewishMarxists. My grandfather believed that Marxists thought that everyone were equal, something that goes against being Jewish, which implies a belief that Jews are special.
For the Jewish boy Gilad it was the meeting with jazz that first made him aware that this superiority idea could not be right.
– I used to listen to jazz on the radio in the evenings. An American radio station. There I listened to Charlie Parker. I went and bought his album the next day. It was on my way home I realized that Parker was black. This was something new for me, that something so good could come from a personof another ethnic group.
Atzmon has gradually come to perceive Israel as a thoroughly racist state. He entered the Army in 1981 as a Medic. The following year there was a war.
– In this war, I realized that the IDF did not live up to its name – Israeli Defense Force. This is not about defense. It was the first time I discovered that there was a gap between what they said and what I saw.
– Just like Bergen-Belsen
He describes the slow awakening, by seeing the results of the massacres committed against the Palestinians, as well as refugee camps in Lebanon where conditions were terrible. He mentioned specifically a prison camp for detainees, pure concentration camp, not essentially different from the Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz.
– It became clear to me that I would not be part of this army, not this society. I wanted to get away from this. I had no developed political consciousness at the time, but I wanted to get away.
Atzmon says that it took some years before he realized that he lived on land that belonged to someone else.
– I found that there was no hope, so I packed sax and left Israel. Again, I had not formulated a clear policy analysis for myself, but I realized that we lived in a country that belonged to another people.
Is all about listening
Cultural differences are reflected in the music, says Atzmon.
– I could not play Arabic music. Eventually I came to the conclusion western music is fundamentally visual – even digital in its construction. It does not apply to Arabic music, says Atzmon. The same goes for jazz.
Here he demonstrates how he was better in playing jazz by singing at the same time. By listening to the tone of the species.
– It’s about listening through to the right harmonies. It is the ability to listen as such. Through this I realized that I had grown up in a state with Arab neighbors,but where I – we – never listened to them.
He believes that the western culture, the meeting is about the visual.
– You are in France, and you see a woman in a burka, and you react accordingly. If you want to understand why she wears the burqa, you must listen. You must use your ears. It is through the ears we reach out to each other.
– No self-hating Jew
He opposes the label “self-hating Jew”, which is Israelis’ own term for Jews who criticize the “Jewish”.
– This is not a book about self-hatred. I’ve stripped down Jewish-identity politics. Not only that, but to strip down all such identity-oriented politics.
– My biggest enemy is the Jewish left. We have two groups that support the Palestinians: One is “The Torah Jews.” They support the Palestinians in general, and I believe in their sincerity. They base themselves on the Torah. But the other group is secular Jews based on the Jewish identity – “Jewishness”.
“There is no such thing as Norwegian Jews”
– I am no anti-Semite: I share the Jewish identity in the three groups. Firstly, those who believe in the Torah, which is fine. The other is Jewishness based on that one is born of Jewish parents. It’s all about origin. An objective fact, he says.
The third group is the Atzmon considers dangerous.
– Former Israeli President Ezera Weizman once said that ‘there is no such thing as a Norwegian Jews, or Danish Jews, and so on. There are only Jews living in Norway, Denmark and other countries’. It is when you allow this Jewish identity to prevail that it becomes dangerous, says Atzmon.
Equality is incompatible with the notion of Jewish cultural identity, says he.
– I am not a Marxist; no “leftist”, not cosmopolitan. To belong to someone or something is fine, as long as this does not come at the expense of someone else. This is what the Jewish lobbies around the world are doing, says Atzmon.
– Jewish lobbyists in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as in other countries, promote a foreign state’s interests in the country they live in. It is unique. And it is very successful. The US’s war in Iraq is an Israeli war, first and foremost. It serves Israel’s interests above all others.
– Invite them home
Atzmon predicts that Jewish nationalism is about to go out of date. The Israeli government can not protect their interests solely by military means, and the great powers’ willingness to serve Israel’s interests uncritically is strained and weakened.
– It remains for Israeli politicians to solve the problem yourself. It’s simple, really: Tell the Palestinians that since we live on their land, we invite you tomove back home.
Mr. Atzmon may have blow a wee bit too hard on his clarinet and accidentally blown out fundamental bits of the brain, at least the nerve centers that coordinate rhyme and reason. That may be a medical condition or really just a very very very eccentric view, which if put to the Israeli electorate, may garner a handful of votes, probably among the Naturei Karta.
But that Atzmon is is greeted as a political analyst with views worth listening to, is grave. It is obnoxious that he gets to do so at the NTNU, the hotbed of academic anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israelism. But that he gets to present his whacky ideas with no opponent who at least could correct the many factual errors he has built his shambolic theories on, is a new and unexpected low from a University we did not have many hopes for.
May I remind you that Dershowitz was deemed too controversial for this grotty bog!